A group of crows. Like a pack of wolves, or a pride of lions.

The viking cultures had no concept of murder. If you killed someone, then it was up to you to pay the family fair compensation for the labor lost by the members death. This was called wergild. If you didn't pay your wergild, it was up to the family of the slain to extract it from you, or take your life. the only other type of killing was slaying someone unjustly. I.E., while they were sleeping, with their back turned. While there were no more repercussions for this other than the normal rules of wergild, the killer in question suffered from a huge loss of trust.

Somewhere, out there, someone was opening a window. In another part of the world, thousands of miles from here, it was morning. The birds were greeting the sun, and a day full of promise — both for joy and sorrow, incidents filling the spectrum of possibility beyond the mind's stammering comprehension — began anew. Life was persistently growing and moving on; a process bringing fulfilment to every notion entertained since consciousness first formed in the dark corners of some primitive mind. The stars in space shone just as brightly, giving no regard to any of these things, as time flowed achingly through every particle of matter in the universe. Somewhere, it was all still happening.

And yet here it was. In front of me, flickering like an old film clip, this sequence of which I was a part of only in observation; in this often fuzzy and dimming chasm of perception, an alpha wave stream acting as a carrier current for the signal static of my senses, I was bearing full witness to this display which threw my normal neurological meter readings deep into the red — right off the end of the scale. There was no way this could be happening (not in the realm of sane possibility, I believed). No way. Not to me. Not in front of me. Not for real.

The explosion of the shot tore through the air, sending every sinuous fiber of my being a wake-up call. Like the startled wonder of being yanked from sleep into the realization that you are late for work, my head swivelled in the aftermath of his body suddenly jerking backwards. Involuntarily abandoning my peripheral perspective for an immediate one, his eyes fixed on mine as gravity wrenched his body to the earth in an expression of amazed disbelief and confusion; reality was throwing ice water in his face. My jaw fell along with his head, each to their lowest point of descent — open and to the the pavement. The audible events following this moment washed out of the drainhole of my awareness as I looked on at his injured motions, tightening and loosening in varying degrees, as his focus on me fell off into the cloudless sky as his lids drew closed. Blood began to escape from the freshly torn opening in his body, forming a broadening puddle that encircled his form on the sidewalk.

In time, I would feel like a salty black gumbo of incensed sorrow, guilt, shock and horror... a voodoo spell conjuring in me an emotional biopsy. At that moment, however, I felt nothing at all... numb, like the pricking of the starlight in the midnight sky. Somewhere mingled among the dark blood that now ran off the curb flowed his beautiful, feral life. And this exceptional human being, so full of living quintessence seconds before, lay dying at my feet.

I killed a man once. I didn't really need a reason, I just wanted to do it.

I walked around downtown for a few weeks memorizing the lay of the land and deciding who would make the best target. I knew it shouldn't be anyone who stood out from the crowd. Someone who fit in, but not too well. I didn't want his absence to be noticed. At least not right away.

It was hot the night I did it. Really hot. You could hear people sweating. The typical street trash and college kids didn't seem to mind, seeing as they were all whacked out of their fucking skulls. I'd have shot one of them, but I doubt they would have noticed.


Sitting at a table at my favorite sidewalk cafe, waiting for a mark. I take a sip of tea, look up and see the perfect specimen leaving the office building across the street, making a left out the door. Off-the-rack suit, nice shoes, quality briefcase. A mid-level manager. Even from across the street I can tell this guy's single, and probably hasn't ever seen a pussy. No ring, an unsure gait, and the way he's looking at those fucking girls? Christ, he might as well wear a sign proclaiming his virginity. Nobody's gonna miss this fucking loser. Although, I'm still not sure I don't want him to be missed by somebody. Fuck it, it doesn't matter. He's got my blood up.

Up from my table and follow him from across the street. Jesus I'm tired of dodging stoned kids and drunk bums. This part of town is the asshole of the universe. It's my pleasure to drill one of these wastoids. Where's he going? Down an alley? Does he want to die?

Across the street, dodge a cab and a drunk, and into the alley. He's picked up his pace. Obviously a shortcut home, but he knows better than to be here longer than he has to. This feels like a good place.

Back onto the street and a right down the block. Into one of the decrepit apartment buildings. Follow him to the door and walk past. He has to have a decent job, why's he living in this shithole? Probably sends his money to mommy and daddy back in Worthless, North Dakota. I don't really give a damn.

Yes, he'll do just fine. I think I'll get laid tonight and plan to whack Mr. Shoes tomorrow. It's a good plan.


It's 7:30, where the fuck is he?! Yesterday he left at 7 sharp. I don't like irregularities! Maybe I'll kill him slow to punish him for doing this to me. I'm giving him ten more minutes, then I'm out of here. Wait, no, YES! There he is! Worthless bag of shit. That's right, back to the alley. You're walking even faster tonight. Don't worry, I'll find a way to slow you down. It's a good thing for you Mark and Beth are waiting for me at the bar, or tonight would be your night.


7:15 and here comes my boy. I can hardly wait. Take your time, Shoes. You're my only date tonight. Stop and talk to one of those pretty young things prancing around you. She's so lit up she'd let you plow her at the mere hint of it. She wants you to. What a story she'd have for the cheerleading squad!

"Oh-my-gawd! I think he was in his forties, and he had this great tattoo of a goth chick or something on his pec, and I swear I thought I was gonna choke on his cock!"

Too bad you're such a fucking loser. If you didn't blow your wad inside of thirty seconds she'd probably pass out and you'd quit popping her, thinking you were raping her. And even if you did nail her, would you stretch the story a little like she clearly would? Probably not you fucking coward. I doubt you have any friends to tell it to anyway.

I never noticed how great the shadows in the alley were before. You'll walk right by me and never see me. Fuck I'm excited. I'm shaking I want it so bad. That's right, walk into my alley. Come meet your end.


He walked past me and I stepped out, matching his stride. For a minute I didn't know what to do, I just kept walking behind him. He never heard me. He never heard the gun come up. He never heard me cock it. The last thing he probably did hear was me dropping the hammer on him.

It was euphoric. When I pulled the trigger, it was like the whole world slowed down. I watched the bullet enter the back of his head, and the spray of blood and brains explode from the other side. The muzzle flash lit up the whole alley. I still see it like a vivid picture in my mind. I see it more clearly now. I actually see the bum hiding in the corner now. I don't remember him from that night, but there he is. The look on his face is what makes it all worthwhile.

When I did it, I felt good. Calm and at peace with the world. As I followed his body to the ground with my piece, I couldn't have felt better. Remember Pulp Fiction, when Vincent shoots up at Lance's place and then he's in his Malibu? That's how I felt. Like I was gliding, and nothing could bring me down.

The second shot was unnecessary. The first one had obviously done the job, but I wanted more. That feeling of immortality when you unleash a round of .45ACP into someone's head. All that power yielding to your control, the ability to take life in a compact, sexy package.

I put the gun away and kept walking. If anybody heard the shots, they didn't care. Nobody even looked at the alley. I made a left as I exited the alley and headed for my favorite bar. I needed to celebrate. I thought once I did it I'd feel whole, but now I wanted more. Next time, I wanted my bitch to see it coming. I wanted it to beg.

Had I known then he was going to be a problem, I would have made that bum my second, and he certainly would have seen it coming.

Murder is a game invented by one of my good friends, Bethanie.

To play, you need:

  • A large house.
  • At least five people. The bigger the house and the more people, the funner!
  • A hat or basket.
  • Small pieces of paper adding up to the same amount of people playing.

    On each piece of paper except for one, write the word 'victim', 'V', or just leave it blank. On the paper left over you would write, needless to say, 'Murderer' (or whatever, as long as you signify it's the murderer). You would then fold these, toss them in the hat or basket, and then let each of your friends pick. No one is allowed to reveal who they are, even if they are a victim. After everyone knows who they are, throw the paper back in. The house should now be dim, but not too dark that you can't see where you're walking. A couple nightlights scattered around would be ideal.

    Everyone then walks around the house randomly, waiting for the murderer to strike by tapping on a victim's shoulder three times. When a person dies, they're supposed to 'drop dead' and scream so everyone in the house can come and inspect the murder and try to figure out whodunit. The dead person then goes to 'heaven', a special room for the dearly departed that none of the living may enter. Obviously, if you're dead, don't tell who did the murder. The object of the game is for the murderer to trick the victims into thinking someone else besides themself is the murderer.

    Some things...

  • Go everywhere in the house! Well, almost everywhere, anyway... The more you wander, the more of a puzzle it is at the end.
  • Victims are allowed to clump in little groups, but I wouldn't recommend doing it too much.
  • Murderers are allowed to strike more than one person at a time, but don't get too carried away!

    By the time a couple people have dropped dead, it's time for the examination. I've played this game when only one person is allowed to drop dead, but a couple people makes it easier for later. It's really up to you and your friends, though.

    There is an examination at the end. Dead people are not allowed to participate in the guessing, as they more than likely know who is really guilty (there is the possibility that they were hit from behind and didn't see the guy, though). If more than two or three people are thrown off from the scent and guess someone else is responsible, then the murderer wins! It can be very hard to be a good murderer, so don't be discouraged if at first everyone guesses it's you.

    There are some good strategies that can be used in this game... But I don't feel like revealing my secrets! One could say that I'm an expert at this game, which leaves my friends suspicious about me... I imagine that this game would probably be fun to play somewhere outside a house like a dense woody area, but it might be complicated if you're playing in the dark. I wouldn't recommend playing this game in an open area like a warehouse. A place that has a lot of halls and stairs would be ideal (think the Clue boardgame).

    I've played this game since I was about eight or so, but it's great fun even now (I'm sixteen as this is being written), and I imagine it'd probably be fun for adults, too! If you end up playing, e-mail me and tell me how you liked it.

  • In real life, the reasons for murder vary widely; however, in fiction and in the most talked-about murders, it seems to me they fall into four categories, all of which may overlap in some cases:

    English murders. In his essay "Decline of the English Murder" George Orwell described the "perfect murder" as follows:

    The murderer should be a man of the professional class--a dentist or a solicitor, say--living an intensely respectable life somewhere in the suburbs . . . He should be either chairman of the local Conservative Party branch, or a leading Nonconformist and strong Temperance advocate. He should go astray through cherishing a guilty passion . . . and should only bring himself to the point of murder after long wrestles with his conscience . . . he should commit murder because this seems to him less disgraceful, and less damaging to his career, than being detected in adultery.
    That pretty much says it all. One example is Dr. Crippen.

    Bad-man murders. I'm referring to anyone driven to murder by the sheer suckiness of their life. They tend to tug at the ol' heartstrings for various reasons. A lot of American "badman ballads" are like this, where typical excuses include gambling, cheating lovers and "just to watch him die" (Johnny Cash, Folsom Prison Blues). These songs tend to focus on going to jail and hanging as much as the actual murder. Here's one example from "Ain't Nobody's Business" by Mississippi John Hurt:

    Some old morning gonna wake up crazy,
    Gonna grab my gun, gonna kill my baby.
    And "John Hardy," supposedly written by John Hardy himself:
    John Hardy was a desperate little man.
    Carried two guns every day,
    He shot a man on the West Virginia line,
    You should have seen John Hardy getting away, poor boy.
    The DC snipers are also in this category; Lee Boyd Malvo is the quintessential troubled kid, having been abandoned by his father.

    Politically motivated murders. Self-explanatory, but usually the only way these become popular is when they overlap with the previous category and people can sympathize with the goals of the murderer. As a general rule, murders don't make their way into fiction or a nation's long-term memory unless people can sympathize with the victim, murderer, or both. The Oklahoma City bombing, for example, won't stir our emotions twenty years from now unless we happen to have extreme libertarian views like Timothy McVeigh. (I won't consider Islamic terrorists here, since they're part of an organization, and soldiers are a different matter altogether. I only know a little about Islamic culture, but nothing I know indicates they take pleasure in reading about solitary criminals.) A very good example is the traditional folk song "Jesse James":

    Jesse James was a lad who killed many a man,
    He robbed the Glendale train,
    He stole from the rich and he gave to the poor,
    He'd a hand and a heart and a brain.
    Poor Jesse had a wife who mourned for his life . . .
    This category would also include Columbine and other school shootings. It would take pages to count the things they were rebelling against; generally it was everything they associated with the social structure of high school. I don't know about you, but when I saw those jocks on TV tearfully explaining that the shooters were jealous of their superior social and athletic prowess, and that preacher blaming video games, rock music and atheism but saying guns are a "side issue," my immediate reaction was "fuck you, asshole." Michael Moore pointed out a document released by some government folks about signs that your child could be a school shooter: among them things like "rebels against authority" and "difficulty fitting in" and of course, drug use. You'd think school homicides were as widespread as, say, clinical depression. For that matter I wonder how many parents of suicidally depressed teenagers were worried about them becoming another school shooter. Badman ballads and school shootings are different from English murders in that you don't feel much sympathy for the victims, certainly not that girl who professed her belief in God even though she knew full well she'd get shot for it. If there's a God I bet he laughed at her for being so stupid.

    Sick-ass motherfucker murders. The most delightful of the three, and also the most American. These are committed for no particular reason except to become attractive to the opposite sex ("Oh baby! Being a homicidal maniac is so nasty!"). Emotionally, the pleasure one derives from the sexual aspect of it is indistinguishable from the pleasure derived from the violence. Even when there's no actual sex involved, these murders seem to be about the sheer pleasure and adrenaline rush of violence. Gangsta rap makes considerable use of this type of murder. For example, from the song "Straight Outta Compton" by N.W.A.:

    Shoot a motherfucker in a minute.
    I find a good piece of pussy; I go up in it.
    Thematically as well as musically, rap is influenced by the blues, and yet they are clearly very different. Unlike in blues and folk murder ballads, rappers seldom sing about getting caught or going to jail. This kind of murder goes all the way back to American pulp fiction. Take for example Robert Bloch's brilliant short story "A Toy for Juliet" from Harlan Ellison's anthology Dangerous Visions. That story gave me quite a hard-on. It's about a girl in the future whose grandfather brings her people from the past so she can have sex with them and then kill them. In the introduction to the story, Bloch says the story's purpose is an "examination of violence in our society." Right Mr. Bloch, it's my duty as a scholar to read this story because it's so artistically profound, *wink* I understand. In another damn good essay by Orwell, "Raffles and Miss Blandish," he analyzes fiction that exploits sex and violence to produce thrills in the reader. He points out that although the English are increasingly enjoying such fiction, mostly only Americans are very skilled at crafting it. One more reason to be proud to be American. Also, in "Decline of the English Murder," he examines the emotional implications of the Cleft Chin Murder, in which an eighteen-year-old girl meets an American army deserter. She falsely claims to be a strip-tease artist, and he falsely claims to be a Chicago gangster, and they proceed to kill a few people just to feel tough. Orwell says: "The background was not domesticity, but the anonymous life of the dance-halls and the false values of the American film." Such values are dangerous, says Orwell in "Miss Blandish," calling them "a daydream appropriate to a totalitarian age" because, even if they don't directly advocate any political beliefs, they promote the fascist idea that the strongest person is always morally right, and Orwell never uses the word "fascist" lightly. Orwell's observation is especially evident in today's gangsta rap. From "Fuck tha Police" by NWA:
    Without a gun and a badge what do ya got?
    A sucker in a uniform waiting to get shot.

    Mur"der (?), n. [OE. morder, morther, AS. mor&edh;or, fr. mor&edh; murder; akin to D. moord, OS. mor&edh;, G., Dan., & Sw. mord, Icel. mor&edh;, Goth. ma�xa3;rþr, OSlav. mr�xc7;ti to die, Lith. mirti, W. marw dead, L. mors, mortis, death, mori, moriri, to die, Gr. broto`s (for mroto`s) mortal, 'a`mbrotos immortal, Skr. m&rsdot; to die, m&rsdot;ta death. 105. Cf. Amaranth, Ambrosia, Mortal.]

    The offense of killing a human being with malice prepense or aforethought, express or implied; intentional and unlawful homicide.

    "Mordre will out."


    The killing of their children had, in the account of God, the guilt of murder, as the offering them to idols had the guilt of idolatry. Locke.

    Slaughter grows murder when it goes too far. Dryden.

    Murder in the second degree, in most jurisdictions, is a malicious homicide committed without a specific intention to take life.



    © Webster 1913.

    Mur"der, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Murdered (?); p. pr. & vb. n. Murdering.] [OE. mortheren, murtheren, AS. myrrian; akin to OHG. murdiren, Goth. ma�xa3;rrjan. See Murder, n.]


    To kill with premediated malice; to kill (a human being) willfully, deliberately, and unlawfully. See Murder, n.


    To destroy; to put an end to.

    [Canst thou] murder thy breath in middle of a word? Shak.


    To mutilate, spoil, or deform, as if with malice or cruelty; to mangle; as, to murder the king's English.

    Syn. -- To kill; assassinate; slay. See Kill.


    © Webster 1913.

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